For all the brawn, however, there is also a great deal of hesitancy in making any claims. For many men today, their manliness requires them to be taken seriously and treated with respect by other people–they don’t want to come across as overly-feminine or aggressive.
The “true manliness poem” is a devotional for men that has been written by John Piper. This text talks about the importance of true manliness and false manliness.
While we typically think of the challenge in describing manliness as a contemporary issue, looking through writings from the early twentieth and nineteenth centuries reveals that writers of that era also struggled to define what manliness meant. Manliness is one of those qualities that you recognize when you see it but can’t quite put into words. As a result, this article by James Freeman Clarke is a joy to read; it concisely outlines what manliness is and is not.
Manliness: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
1886, James Freeman Clarke
MANLINESS denotes ideal masculinity in the same way that womanliness denotes perfect femininity. Manliness is a man’s character as he should be, as he was created to be. Truth, bravery, conscience, freedom, energy, self-possession, and self-control are all traits that go into becoming a perfect man. However, kindness, sensitivity, compassion, and humility are not excluded. Because he is soft, a guy is not less macho, but rather more so. In reality, the name “gentleman” implies that a normal man must be gentle as well.
The world advances because of male attributes. The masculine spirit manifests itself in initiative, a love of confronting and conquering challenges, — a resolve that will not give, patiently perseveres, and refuses to concede defeat. It relishes arduous effort, is willing to make sacrifices, and is patient in the face of adversity. It is charitable, committing itself to a cause other than its own; it is public-spirited, devoting itself to the common good without expecting anything in return. It is willing to defend difficult truths, to stand up for those who have been harmed, and to protect the vulnerable. It does not turn back after resolving, but continues on through good report and bad, certain that the right will prevail in the end. As a result, truth triumphs and the standard of a noble aim in the world is maintained.
But, as with other excellent things, there is a fake manliness that imitates these beautiful attributes while being devoid of them at its core. Instead of willpower, it has boldness; instead of bravery, it has audacity. True manliness does what it thinks is proper, whereas counterfeit manliness does what it wants. To one, freedom implies following one’s own views of truth; to the other, it entails thinking and doing as one pleases. One is respectful, while the other is impolite; one is courteous, while the other is domineering; one is courageous, while the other is reckless; one is humble, while the other is boastful. To inferiors, false manliness is sarcastic, disdainful, and authoritarian. True men have respect for all men, are compassionate for the suffering, and are humble and courteous. The good type utilizes its power to uphold good traditions, enhance social conditions, and preserve order. The other imagines it to be masculine to violate the law, to be independent of sound counsel, to mock moral commitment, and to see oneself as superior to mankind’s established standards.
Boys are led astray by an erroneous sense of manliness.
All boys want to be macho, yet they often strive to emulate men’s vices rather than their virtues. They watch guys drinking, smoking, and cursing, so these poor young twerps slavishly mimic such nasty habits, believing that by doing so, they are becoming more manly. They erroneously believe that rudeness equals strength, and that disregard for parents equals independence. They read dreadful novels about young brigands and boy detectives, and they imagine themselves to be heroes when they violate the law and cause havoc. Criminal classes are recruited as a result of such deceptive influences. The awful models surrounding him, as well as the poor literature he reads, corrupt and degrade many a young kid who merely wants to be macho. Giving him excellent literature that show him really heroic examples from life and history, and teaching him how immensely beyond this mock-manliness is the actual bravery that ennobles human nature, is the solution for this.
The dreadful scene was illuminated by the courage and manly devotion of those who risked their own lives to save the lives of others in a recent terrible disaster, amid the blackness and darkness and tempest, the implacable sea and the pitiless storm, — when men’s hearts were failing them from terror, and women and children had no support but faith in a Divine Providence and a coming immortality, — the dreadful scene was illuminated by the courage and manly devotion of Such bravery is like a ray of sunshine bursting through the storm. It demonstrates the true value of man.
Whatever mankind’s selfishness may seem, hours like these, which test men’s souls, indicate that the era of chivalry has not passed us by; that, despite our best efforts, the age of chivalry has not passed us by; that, despite our best efforts, the age of chivalry has not passed us by.
“The knights are dust, and their fine weapons rust,” says the narrator.
There are as many noble heroes as there have ever been. Women and children are rescued by firefighters who rush inside a burning home. Sailors put their lives on the line to save their comrades from a shipwreck. They rescue them at such a tremendous danger because they are fellow-men, not because they are friends or relatives.
Manliness includes the quality of courage. It’s more than just being ready to face danger and death, since we’re not frequently faced with such dangers. It is ordinary courage that is most needed—courage that does not shirk from any duty because it is difficult; courage that makes one ready to say what he believes, even if his opinions are unpopular; courage that does not allow him to postpone a duty, but makes him ready to face it immediately; courage that is not afraid of ridicule when one believes one is correct; courage that is not a slave of custom, a fool of fashion. True manliness is shown by such bravery, whether in a man, a woman, or a kid. In all people, it is eternally becoming. It is frequently the bravery of quiet, just as much as it is the courage of speaking; it is humble courage, unpretentious yet firm. Whether men listen or forbear, it stands firm in its views and ideals.
Another aspect of authentic manliness is honesty.
Lies are frequently the result of cowardice, which arises from men’s fear of standing by their flag, their fear of confrontation, or their awareness of something wrong that they are unable to defend and hence hide. Secret flaws, hidden motives, and shameful patterns of action lead to deception, and falsehood is cowardice. As a result, the sinner is nearly always a coward. He flees from the light and hides in the shadows. As a result, if we want to be macho, we must not do anything that makes us feel humiliated. He alone is masculine who lives by solid convictions of truth and justice, who deceives no one, injures no one, and therefore has nothing to conceal. The evil guy may be bold, but he lacks actual bravery. His manliness is really a ruse, a hollow shell, a confident attitude devoid of genuine determination.
Humaneness is the mark of true manliness. “We who are powerful should endure the infirmities of the weak,” it reads. Its mission is to safeguard people who are unable to defend themselves; to act as a buffer between the oppressor and the oppressed. It is synonymous with the spirit of chivalry that drove virtuous knights to seek down thieves, giants, and oppressive lords who mistreated the poor and deprived vulnerable women and orphans of their rights at all times. Although there are no longer any tyrant lords, the spirit of tyranny and brutality may still be present. Today’s good knight is one who helps the blind, the deaf and dumb, and the mad; who protects animals from brutal treatment, saves little children from abuse, and works to ensure that working men and women have their rights. He defends all of these victims from the false masculinity that is cruel and despotic toward the weak, misusing its authority over women, children, and domestic animals. Today’s genuine knights are those who create and carry on groups to avoid cruelty or to enforce laws against those who get men inebriated for a little profit. Today’s giants and dragons are cruelties and brutalities that utilize their power to abuse people who are at their mercy.
False manliness is cold and harsh, cynical and disdainful, while true manliness is gentle and kind. The most courageous and heroic individuals are also the most loving. The heroes of our time, Garibaldi, Kossuth, and Mazzini; Luther, who never dreaded man’s face; Gustavus Adolphus and William of Orange, are all instances of this synthesis of boldness and kindness. Bold as lions in the defense of the right, such men exhibit a womanly softness in their homes and private lives. False manliness is heartless, lacking in friendly sentiments, unpleasant, gruff, and domineering. True manliness is temperate; it is balanced, self-controlled, and capable of self-denial and sacrifice. False manliness is self-centered and indulgent……
In its approach toward women, true manliness differs from fake manliness. Its knightly instincts drive it to defend her rights, uphold her claims, and serve as her guardian and champion. False manliness seeks to demonstrate its dominance by treating women as second-class citizens. It flatters them, yet it shows them no respect. It is afraid of their equal-opportunity competition and seeks to restrict them, not inside walls, as in the Mohammedan areas, but behind more subtle barriers of thought, prejudice, and imagined feminine aptitudes. True manliness extends his hand to a woman and says, “Accomplish everything you’re capable of; whatever God intended for you to do.” Neither you nor I can say what it is until all artificial obstacles are gone and you have a full chance to attempt.” Womanly purity, compassion, and elegance of heart are respected by macho power. And here, my friends, is the true chivalry of our time.
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